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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Newsmax's Ponte Misrepresents Unemployment Stats
Topic: Newsmax

Lowell Ponte writes in his March 11 Newsmax column:

The official unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent last Friday, the lowest rate since December 2008.
Numbers buried in the government's fine print, however, suggest that the economy might still be sinking, not recovering.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says we added 236,000 jobs in February, yet the number of unemployed who stopped looking for a job and statistically disappeared increased by 296,000 — 60,000 more than found work.
This is what created the illusion of a falling jobless rate while real joblessness increased and grew more desperate.
Altogether, 89,304,000 adult Americans as of February were classed as "not in the labor force."

Ponte is comparing apples and oranges -- the BLS counts the number of jobs added and the number of people not in the labor force in different ways, so one number has no corellation whatsoever with the other.

Further, the BLS defines "not in the labor force" very broadly -- essentially, everyone over 16 and not in an institution -- and includes many other people than those who "stopped looking for a job," including students and retired people who were never looking for work.

Ponte also calls the U-6 rate -- typically a higher number  than the U-3 unemployment rate because it counts the underemployed and those discouraged from seeking a job -- "the official jobs number," even though the U-3 rate is equally as "official."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 PM EDT

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